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[EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955)]. Michele BESSO (1873-1955). Autograph scientific notes and drafts by Besso, many relating to the general theory of relativity, n.p. [Bern and Zurich], n.d. [1911-1916].
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[EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955)]. Michele BESSO (1873-1955). Autograph scientific notes and drafts by Besso, many relating to the general theory of relativity, n.p. [Bern and Zurich], n.d. [1911-1916].

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[EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955)]. Michele BESSO (1873-1955). Autograph scientific notes and drafts by Besso, many relating to the general theory of relativity, n.p. [Bern and Zurich], n.d. [1911-1916].

In German, approx. 82 pages, of which roughly half bearing equations and calculations, sometimes illustrated with diagrams, the remainder more extended prose drafts, on papers of various sizes, the largest 360 x 228mm, frequently reusing paper bearing letters, addresses, lists, a printed form from a sanatorium in Zurich, a library receipt (signed by Besso, 3 July 1916, for Lorentz's Lehrbuch der Physik) etc. Provenance: by direct descent from Michele Besso.

Working notes of Einstein's collaborator on the theory of relativity. The manuscripts include at least 17 extended drafts, on subjects including 'The relativity principle in an epistemological formulation (4 pages), 'A paradox of the general theory of relativity' (4 pages), a group of 5 manuscripts examining kinematic aspects of relativity (10) and at least four papers deriving from or referring to the 1913 Einstein-Grossmann paper on general relativity (8½ pages).

Michele Besso was probably Einstein's closest friend. The two had met during Einstein's student years in Zurich, and subsequently worked together at the Federal Patent Office in Bern, when they used to discuss Einstein's theories as they walked home. Besso was Einstein's only acknowledged collaborator in his 1905 paper on special relativity, and the two later worked together intensively on the motion of the perihelion of Mercury in the 'Einstein-Besso manuscript', a crucial but abortive stage in the validation of the general theory of relativity, probably written during a visit by Besso to Einstein in Zurich in June 1913. The present notes and drafts demonstrate the extent of Besso's engagement with his friend's work in the years before and immediately after Einstein's final breakthrough in the autumn of 1915.




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